Fred Behrend had a bar mitzvah in 1939, after his family fled to Cuba from Nazi Germany. The family left with nothing, so guests brought their own food. Exactly 80 years later, on the 81st anniversary of Kristallnacht, the 93-year-old Behrend will celebrate his bar mitzvah once again in Voorhees, N.J. at Congregation Beth El.
The bar mitzvah celebration of the elderly Holocaust survivor will take the form of special honors at the bar mitzvah of 13-year-old Eli Grey, where the young man will use a yad, a Torah pointer found by Fred Behrend’s father after Kristallnacht. “My father found that in the ashes of our burned-out synagogue,” said Behrend. His family managed to smuggle the item out of the country when they fled.